Today, the Central Intelligence Agency will begin to turn over documents related to the purposeful destruction of videotapes showing agents of the American government torturing prisoners. A congressional subpoena asks for all related materials, and that will presumably include the names of the CIA agents who were torturing the prisoners.
That’s ironic, given that the pretext for destroying the videotapes in the first place was that the CIA didn’t want the names of the torturers to be revealed – for the safety of the torturers. It’s a great example of how a government obsessed with secrecy actually is less able to keep secrets than a truly democratic, open government.
One other little thought on the matter: If you’re a government agent, and you’re afraid that the friends of the prisoners that you torture will come attack you and your family in revenge, then there’s a simple way to prevent the problem: Don’t torture the prisoners in the first place. Covering up torture isn’t necessary if you don’t torture in the first place.
(Source: Associated Press, December 20, 2007)